A Culture of Gratitude

ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविः ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम् ।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ॥

Brahmarpanam brahma havir
Brahmagnau brahmana hutam
Brahmaiva tena gantavyam
Brahma-karma-samadhina

Many a time during my school days, this mantra (chant) used to sound in the background as we prepared to have lunch. It seemed especially long on the days when I knew my mother had packed something special – for there was not just the joy of having it, but also of sharing it with my friends. The true meaning of the chant – though it was duly provided in our school diary – was lost on me.

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The Beauty of Black

This is in response to the nomination by Ket at Cynical Souls. I promised him I’d get to writing posts for these and well, here I am. Ket is a warm, loving individual who knows and understands the value of the people in his life, being a priceless soul himself. Do check out his blog, it will leave you with a smile. 

Back when I was a school girl, a classmate wore a beautiful black dress to school on her birthday. However, our teacher pointed out that it wasn’t particularly auspicious to don black on a happy day like the day one was born on.

My teacher had good intentions – of that I have no doubt. Even back then, I was in love with everything and everyone who stood out – those enviably free souls who galumphed when all around them wanted nothing but to sit and sleep.

So it’s understandable that what I heard that day made me reflect in length about why black wasn’t loved more.

I suppose it’s a cultural thing, or perhaps it’s evolutionary.

White is something pure, innocent and auspicious. And black represents all that we tend to avoid.

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

Many thanks to Kim at Writer Side Of Life for nominating me. Do drop by, not just for her comprehensive book reviews but also for the simple, soothing style of expression. The love for books she has is so palpable, so fair warning – you may find yourself inundated by the desire to read endlessly. 🙂

The rules/guidelines:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.

2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.

3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

4. Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

5. List the rules on your post and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Answers:

What is your favorite place in the world? 

I’m not sure I’m qualified to call any place in the world a favorite, primarily because I’ve seen so little of it.

At this point, I’ve a great many places I’d like to name, and I can’t really say that one of those is my favorite. Each of them fulfilled a need, answered a question or simply provided solace when I really needed it.

From a small wayside eatery to a temple on a mountaintop, they all have my love.

What do you want people to get out of your blog?

The Quill is an extension of the endless chatter inside my head. Filtered, but still, an extension of myself.

I want my blog to do the same thing to people as I hope to do for those around me. I want it to be something that brings a smile after a long day, an answer to a question or even something that has the power to inspire.

Cat person or dog person?

I don’t really have a preference. Both animals are intriguing and worthy of love, in their own ways.

I love the way cats do their ‘I’m the god, not you’ thing. I’ve never had a cat around for long (I’ve never had many pets, for that matter) but they always project an independence, a certain detachment, a callback to the fact that they are inherently wild and free.

But in the event that I’m dejected or depressed or just back home after a long day, I’d rather be welcomed by a dog. Somewhere, we all wish for a little heart-breaking loyalty in our lives, and dogs are perfect recipients because they give the same back to you.

Who is your best author?

Oh, I could name so many (I know, I’m so bad at favorites questions) but here are those who have almost defined the different stages of my life so far.

Enid Blyton, J K Rowling and C S Lewis – for giving me the most imaginative childhood. So many of my summer days were spent leafing through their books in the living room while my thoughts wandered about in Hogwarts and Narnia while munching on fresh scones.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – for that gentle transition from believing that our heroes can solve everything (even pre-teen heroes who have holiday homework) to the reality that even the sharpest and smartest have been slapped by failures.

Harper Lee – for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Something based off real place and events and people, yet somehow it felt so absolutely magical.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – for a retelling of the epic Mahabharata through the eyes of its fiery female protagonist Panchaali. Even though I enjoyed the rest of her books, this particular work retains a special place. I can never pass it by without picking it up and going through a few pages here and there.

George R R Martin – for his complex characters, complex and intertwined plots that are a joy to trace, exquisite yet subtle symbolism and realistic fantasy. Oh, and dragons!

Mitch Albom and Paulo Coelho – for helping me find my way back to magic, because in the end, reality is just magic that we forgot how to behold.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Anything edible that is also within arm’s length.

As a child, what did you dream of doing for a living?

I always wanted to explore, go beyond, see and experience everything there was in the known world and even the unknown. I dreamed of being an astronaut, a journalist, a politician, a travel enthusiast. Oh, so many.

Most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?

Was also the most stupid thing I did, so I do hope you understand when I say I don’t really want it posted on a public platform, haha. ^^’

Would you trust a self-driving car?

As much as I would trust a personal computer or a mobile phone to keep my secrets. We are progressing towards a future that may well be dominated by artificial intelligence. Being comfortable with that might just become a need rather than a choice.

What’s the best thing about your own country?

That it teaches a person so much. Sometimes, being here is soothing. There are isolated spots where the past is so perfectly crystallized. And at other times, it’s like being scrubbed. The deafening sounds, the crowds and the heat.

India can teach a person so much – about adapting to circumstances, living in diversity and also about that fine balance between being guarded and being friendly.

Which 3 famous people would you invite for dinner? (Dead or alive)

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, whose words and deeds were talk of the town when I was a child. We often say greatness comes with simplicity, and here was someone who personified that.

Newt Scamander ( real enough to me ), because who wouldn’t love to hear about Nifflers and Thunderbirds over dessert?

Marilyn Monroe, so well known and yet so misunderstood.

What is your favorite quote?

The most recent favorite (the one I wrote an entire blog post about) would be : “Is it far from madness to wisdom?”

Nominations:

Ket Cage at Cynical Souls

Devoted and Divorced

Angel at Watch Your Life in Pictures

Thought After Thought

Perceptions Unplugged

themoonlightreverie

Objects, and the Distance Between Them

mamaasaladd

Symmetric Resonance

The Mind Connectory

50 first dates with myself

My questions to you: 

  1. If you could shuttle between now and at some point in the past or future, which event / historical period would you choose?
  2. White or black? And why?
  3. Do you think morality is relative, or is it absolute?
  4. Name one work of art that changed your life.
  5. A crazy monster is about to charge at you. Describe the funniest, most creative way you’re going to fight it and hold your ground (You can describe the monster too).
  6. Depict your blog in five numbers and explain why you chose them.
  7. Expand the following acronym so as to closely describe the most dominant side of your personality: ALACKRE
  8. You need to choose between a single page of wisdom and a whole blank book of a thousand pages. Which do you pick and why?
  9. What’s the best thing you love about yourself?
  10. You have the authority to declare that one day in the year be devoted to some special person/cause. What do you devote it to?
  11. You get one minute to talk to a powerful person/ entity. The entity will change whatever you want it to change, but you only get one minute to talk and no more. You only have one chance. What do you talk of?

You’ve got mail

Have you experienced that?

You would be going about your day’s work, sometimes absentmindedly worrying about everything that’s left to do, or about some problem that has been haggling at you for long.

Perhaps, and often it happens this way, you may not be thinking of these at all.

You were simply immersed in the moment, doing what you wanted, thinking of nothing else. Or maybe an innocent question popped up, that might have answered every question you ever had.

And then, somehow, you saw or read or heard something that did precisely that.

It’s so magical, and it fills me with so much wonder when that happens. Just a moment in a multitude of moments – yet it held a beautiful rapture that showed everything in a different light.

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Communication

We are a species that’s so obsessed with giving the right terms and classifications to everything and everyone. And yet, as nature so often does, exceptions abound.

Carl Jung, the famed psychoanalyst who is credited for sowing the seeds to the most commonly used personality type indicators, once said this of his typology:

“Every individual is an exception to the rule”

We let ourselves be socially programmed to believe we can only build genuine relationships with other human beings, and that there needs to be certain criteria to be fulfilled if it is to even be considered one.

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Truly Divine [ Three Day Lyrical Challenge – Day 1 ]

Many thanks to Gina at Singledust for nominating me – I do love a challenge, especially one that involves something as divine as music.

The Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you. Thank you once again, Gina.
2.  Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
3.  Nominate three other bloggers each day. (Or one, one is probably enough)

Nomination

I nominate watchyourlifeinpictures. You already have a superb taste in songs and often post of them, but well, challenges are fun.

The Song

There is something about certain songs that stick to you for so long, it becomes part of your routine, sometimes even your personality. This particular song from the movie Bajirao Mastani is a soulful rendition of love, separation and the joy of union.

To me personally, it is a reminder of a beautiful companionship, an important lesson and the lyrical representation of the relationship that our wandering souls have with divinity.

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Eight hours without electricity, and an important lesson

Sometimes luxury blinds you to all the treasures you possess. Sometimes, it makes you believe what you can do without, is exactly what you need the most.

If you allow it to take over and be your eyes and ears, the true you could end up not having a voice.

We live in great luxury today compared to the generations before, and the future holds promises of greater riches. While this is well deserved, for as a race we have persevered for these, perhaps we may need to stand back and reevaluate our options.

I, for my part, understood this when a few days back we had a blackout for 8 hours during the day. I was positively crazed.

I had work to do. People to talk to. Hear music that I’d heard a thousand times before. Random news feed to go through. Watch videos of shows that I’ve watched on replay so many times, they possibly couldn’t teach me anything new…

…Did you notice?

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# 10. What You Seek Is Seeking You

This post is in response to the Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge hosted by Its PH, a challenge that I believe all you bloggers out there must try your hand at. Give it a go, guys!

This is the final challenge.

At this point, I would also like to thank the host for such a wonderful, thought-provoking challenge. It has been a journey in its own right, and I’m wiser for it. 

Happiness is a conscious decision.

Whatever an external being or thing can provide you is temporary, because once that vanishes, your happiness does too.

Happiness is finding the slightest joy in the darkest night.

Happiness is finding hope where there is only desperation.

Happiness is believing in a better future and striving to make that happen, for the sake of others if not for ourselves.

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# 9. Being a Baby

This post is in response to the Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge hosted by Its PH, a challenge that I believe all you bloggers out there must try your hand at. Give it a go, guys!

This is the ninth of ten challenges. We are to see something with a fresh perspective, and I have chosen a word.

Last day, I happened to see a TED Talk by cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky, who was giving insights about how language shapes the way we think.

The most intriguing thing that I learned from this talk was about an Australian aboriginal community that speaks a language called ‘Kuuk Thaayorre’.

This language is noted for its use of sixteen words for absolute cardinal directions (north-east, south-west etc.) than words with relative senses (left, right etc.). The people have a much better awareness of orientation than the average English speaker, who might be a tad confused with directions.

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Like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Goals.

The first time I heard that word, it was just another addition to my vocabulary.

As a child, I was fascinated with encountering new words and figuring out what they meant, so I’d ravenously go through every book I had to see what words I could meet that I had never known of before.

Later on though, I realized they had a lot of gravity.

Every famous person seemed to have them and stressed upon their importance. Life without goals is absolutely pointless – they were experts in different fields and yet, they all seemed to agree on this one thing.

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